Happy Birthday, Cousin…

18 Jun

Today is my birthday. Most anybody who knows me well knows that I share a birthday with Paul. Sir Paul McCartney of The Beatles, that is.  Well, this has always been a lucky thing for me–and I’ve never had to stop and think for a minute when asked that inevitable question, “Who is your favorite Beatle?”  Well, it’s Paul, baby, all the way. Always has been; always will be.  Of course, besides being one of the most legendary and fabulously successful musicians/recording artists of all time,  Paul is also an Oscar winner. Oh sure, he’s acted in a number of films, but his Oscar is a rather bittersweet thing as he and his bandmates (John, George, and Ringo) shared a win for the Let It Be soundtrack, the documentary that more or less captured on film the beginning of the end of the Fab Four. Sad face. McCartney also boasts nominations for the classic “Live and Let Die” (for the 1973 007 film of the same name), and the title tune to the 2001 Tom Cruise/Cameron Crowe oddity, Vanilla Sky.  A number of film scholars believe Paul and the gang should have been honored by the Academy for 1964’s  A Hard Day’s Night [1], but, of course, as I wrote about earlier regarding the Bee Gees and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, sometimes it takes Uncle Oscar awhile to catch up with pop culture; after all, from the Academy’s perspective, the real British musical invasion of 1964 was all about whether My Fair Lady or Mary Poppins would capture all the golden glory.

I also share a birthday with Roger Ebert (yeah, okay, I guess), and Carol Kane, whom I wrote about several months ago when her 1975 Oscar nominated offering Hester Street was ushered into the National Film Registry. I also celebrate my special day with Isabella Rossellini. Yep, today Isabella Rosellini turns a whopping 60 years old. Well, good for her. Of course, in many ways, this Swedish-Italian model-turned-actress has been better known for her, um, say, complicated personal life rather than her output in the wonderful world of films.

^ Isabella Rossellini was the face of Lancome for most of the 1980s and on through the early 1990s until the suits (and probably a focus group or two) decided that at 40+, Rossellini was too old to help sell skin care, lipstick, mascara, etc.–but shouldn’t Rossellini’s classic, timeless beauty be the point?  Too bad for the cosmetics giant because Rossellini helped give the brand an identity–anyone and everyone who knew anything in the day about makeup and/or fashion certainly made the connection between Rossellini and Lancome. Now, the company just rides the flavor-of-the-month wagon. Who cares? (And, yes, I’m sure this photo is retouched; that’s a given.)

She’s famously the daughter–a twin, in fact–of the luminously beautiful Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman (a three time Oscar winner), and Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Among his many honors are an Oscar nomination for the Paisan screenplay, a shared Grand Prize for Rome, Open City at the 1946 Cannes Film Festival, and a quartet of nominations for the Golden Lion, the top award at the Venice Film Festival; he won for The Great War; he was nominated for Stromboli, the film that first paired him–scandalously–with Bergman.  Ms. Rossellini, on the other hand, was once married to Martin Scorsese though he never featured his wife in any films.  After divorcing Scorsese, Rossellini enjoyed a long-term relationship with director David Lynch and a subsequent fling with mercurial actor Gary Oldman.  Lynch, of course, featured Rossellini in 1986’s “arthouse” instant classic Blue Velvet, and then again in 1990’s Cannes Golden Palm winner, Wild at Heart. The weird thing is that when Lynch used his beautiful lady-love in his films, he always turned her into a grotesque creature, which seemed cruel to me–as though he were jealous of her marvelous good looks and wanted to punish her. On the other hand, since Rossellini was, at that time, so well known for being the face of beauty in a slew of Lancome ads, maybe she relished the opportunity to liberate herself from all that in order to get down and dirty. Perhaps.

My first exposure to Cousin Cousine was well before it was nominated for three Academy Awards. I ran across an ad for it in someone’s discarded New York Times or Village Voice when the movie first opened in the Big Apple. When I was in high school, my mother and her friends often bought such publications, as well as the New Yorker and New York, and I read them whenever I could get my hands on them. Hey, I was a high school kid in Garland in the 70s, and I clung to the idea that New York was good for whatever ailed me. Anyway, I want to say that Cousin Cousine played at the famed Paris theatre. I distinctly remember the logo on the ad.  A few decades later, a good friend of mine would be running the place.

Regrettably, with Rossellini well past the age of 40,  good parts are often hard to find though she has eked out a perfectly respectable filmography per her work on/in the likes of Chicago Hope (Emmy nomination), Death Becomes Her (Saturn award for Best Supporting Actress), and The Saddest Music in the World.  I like Rossellini best, however, in Cousins, director Joel Schumacher’s gorgeous adaptation of the 1975 French film, Cousin Cousine.

Co-written by Jean-Charles Tacchella and Danièle Thompson, Cousin Cousine is a modern-day pastoral comedy about a man and a woman, incidentally cousins by marriage, who turn to each other for strictly platonic comfort when they realize that their respective spouses are cheating with each other. In an ironic twist, the cheated-upon eventually become lovers as well, which is a complication that the two original adulterers never saw coming as their fling was about nothing more than cheap sex. Love is another matter entirely. When released in the states in 1976, Cousin Cousine was greeted with enthusiastic reviews and, for the times, generous ticket sales, that is, generous considering its subtitles and limited distribution. The Academy was so impressed that its various branches nominated the film in three categories: Best Foreign Language Film,  Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress, Marie-Christine Barrault in the role of the virtuous–to a point–romantic heroine. Interestingly, even though fair-haired Barrault was singled out by the American Academy, the French had a much different take, instead showering honors on dark haired vixen Marie France Pisier as the flighty adulteress–she won the Cesar award for Best Supporting Actress; Barrault wasn’t even nominated. I have to say I agree with the French on this one.  I missed Cousin Cousine when it first played in Dallas–a quick run designed to capitalize on the film’s Oscar nods, no doubt–but I caught up with it in the spring of ’79 at the old Granada theatre, and I was riveted by Pisier though I thought Barrault was pretty and charming–but an Oscar nomination? Really? [2]  Pisier segued to the lead in the lavish film treatment of Sidney Sheldon’s The Other Side of Midnight, a flop aside from its Oscar nominated costumes by famed Irene Sharaff; Barrault appeared as one of three women battling for space in Woody Allen’s consciousness in the uneven–if fascinating–Stardust Memories (1980).

Schumacher’s 1989 translation pretty much follows the original’s template–only with a title that’s actually worse. Who wants to see a movie about cousins falling in love with each other? That’s what the title suggests even though, again, the two leads are only cousins-in-law.  I mean, that might have been fine for Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, but nobody went to see the 1939 epic because of those two knuckleheads. Schumacher’s movie might have just as well been titled Three Weddings and a Funeral, actually, because that’s pretty much the scenario as major chunks of action occur at various family gatherings.

This ad for the videocassette release of Cousins, starring Isabella Rossellini (l) and Ted Danson (r), seems designed to capture the carefree spirit of the original film’s advertising campaign.

Even with that teensy-misgiving about the title, Rossellini is a delight in the role that helped Marie-Christine Barrault garner a nod back in the 1970s. This is not the kind of part that screams acting awards, Barrault’s success aside,  because it doesn’t traffic in big emotions. Rossellini’s Maria is an introvert. Sure, she’s beautiful, but it’s the antithesis of 1980s glitz and glamour: no over-moussed scrunchy perms; no high-fashion “power” makeup. No Lacroix. Instead, Rossellini is a woman prone to keeping to herself and that means dressing down in almost shapeless pastel colored clothes with her chin length hair smoothed back away from her face.  It’s almost as though she wants to disappear into the background. Of course, there’s always that knockout bone structure and those dreamy eyes. Maria might want to retreat into the woodwork–she knows her marriage is a sham, and has known it for a long time though she thinks she can salvage her disappointment by being a good mother–but her basic goodness and her capacity to love are always smoldering just beneath the surface, thereby making it impossible for another man not to be attracted to her; her husband is just too inside his own head to see her as she truly is. Indeed, hubby even goes so far as to place Maria on a pedestal to his own detriment.

Again, a lot of the “acting” that Rossellini is required to do consists of being sad throughout chunks of the movie. Of course, it’s probably easier to merely look sad rather than to convey genuine sadness, and that’s where Rossellini excels: outwardly, yes, there’s body language–but how do you get inside such a reticent character? Rossellini’s deeply expressive eyes pretty much do the trick. Of course, this sad, almost strange, woman is being wooed by a man who’s an unabashed romantic, and it’s fun watching him tease the fun-loving, dare I say girlish, side into fruition. If Maria were to blossom too suddenly, the audience wouldn’t buy it, so Rossellini modulates, building from being tentative to more fully assertive one gesture, one giggle, one sidelong glance, at a time–and when she finally allows herself to feel true unabashed joy, it’s dazzling, miraculous even. Also, when a director casts an actor/actress with a face capable of registering so much  with little or no fuss, it cuts down on the need for lots of dialogue, thereby rendering the film more cinematic as evidenced in a near wordless sequence set at a commuter train depot: a complete story in itself. This is a performance so “natural,” so unaffected, that it doesn’t even seem like acting, which, of course, is what makes it so extraordinarily intriguing. Of course, fans of Barrault will say her performance works in the same way that Rossellini’s does, and that the artless unaffected quality is part of its charm–and why Barrault scored an Oscar nomination. Maybe, but I don’t remember caring about Barrault’s character, or her happiness, the way I did, and still do, with Rossellini’s interpretation. I think she somehow manages to take the character and/or level of performance to the so-called next level. Also, as an aside, I think that by writing Maria as an Italian and/or casting an actress with Rossellini’s heritage, the filmmakers maintain much of the original film’s European sensibility, or flavor, if that makes any sense.

Even so, Rossellini isn’t appearing in a love story all alone in a vacuum. She has a leading man, of course, and he’s played by none other than Ted Danson, who at the time of this film was enjoying huge success on TV’s Cheers, besides recently co-starring in yet another American remake of a French film, the hugely popular Three Men and a Baby, per  France’s Three Men and a Cradle [3]. Danson is  ruggedly handsome–he was once the Aramis man in ads–and he looks just about right as Larry, the laid-back guy who dreams of getting away from it all though he’s still very much in a rut: he’s in the second of two bad marriages, and he hasn’t had much luck with jobs ever since he decided he wasn’t cut-out for the corporate rat race. He and Rossellini have a lovely rapport, and Danson’s considerable charms are also needed to get past the parts of the script that present Larry as the perfect dad to a teenage son. I’m not saying being a great dad is a bad thing–I would never say that–but I just think this particular script strains a bit too much to make sure audiences know that however lacking Larry is in some areas, he is beyond reproach as a parent. I don’t know that I need to know all that.

As with the French source material, the original cheaters are played by a couple of scene-stealers.  First up: Sean Young as Larry’s spouse, Tish. Yes, it’s popular these days to make fun of Young for her, well, peculiar antics, and the truth is she was already garnering unfavorable press around the time this movie was produced and/or released; however, her work in Cousins shows that whatever she is now, she has given a few fine performances in the past. (Remember how good she was in Blade Runner?) Tish is a knockout who believes people only value her for her beauty, so she spends a lot of time, and exerts a lot of energy,  trying to convince others of her worth. The trouble is that, aside from being good at her job, she isn’t really sure about who she is on the inside.  As such, her emotions are all over the place, and Young registers those changes swiftly and commendably–and when Tish realizes that she’s made one mistake too many, she plays heartbreak beautifully and unexpectedly; I think audiences even root for her in the end.  Meanwhile, get a load of a pre-CSI William Petersen as Tom, Maria’s (Rosselinii) husband.  He’s a  car salesman, and, indeed, a smooth operator, but he has a short fuse, and he’s so eaten up with envy and keeping up with the Joneses that he’s his own worst enemy. Plus, he’s a serial philanderer, and Petersen, playing a such a vile individual, does a wonderful job of showing a man whose ongoing thirst for sex is almost painfully funny.  Watch his eyes and lips twitch at the idea of visualizing Young in her black underwear. Marvelous. These two are seemingly perfect for each other–except they’re really not.  Here again, I would have easily given nods to both Young and Petersen for their performances in this film: they do the nearly impossible by playing naughty misfits that are subtly comic–and, therefore, potentially believable–rather than outrageously comic. In Cousins, the outrageous comedy is saved for Lloyd Bridges as Danson’s rambunctious uncle–and a potential new love interest for Rossellini’s widowed mother. Lloyd attacks this gregarious role like a pit-bull, playing all the way to the back row and milking each and every laugh for all its worth. It’s a little too corny for my tastes–plus, this grandpappy makes some questionable choices with Danson’s son that we’re supposed to find somehow charming, but it’s not enough to ruin the picture.  As I recall, Paramount actually sprang a few bucks for a Best Supporting Actor campaign on Lloyd’s behalf.  If it had paid-off, it would have been great because it might have bought more attention to the film.

Furthermore, the delightful cast is completed by the likes of Norma Aleandro, Keith Coogan, and Gina DeAngeles. Aleandro is the sensational Argentine actress who earned international acclaim, including Best Actress honors at Cannes, for the harrowing The Official Story in 1985 [4]; two years later, she scored a Best Supporting Actress nod for Gaby: A True Story. In Cousins, she plays Rossellini’s strongly opinionated mother, Edie, and the two women spar convincingly in one thoughtfully written scene in which Edie thinks it’s the right time for a good ole heart-to-talk though Maria views the situation differently. Coogan, grandson of the one and only Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester in the old Addams Family TV show among others) and the star of such hits as Adventures in Babysitting and Toy Soldiers in his own right, has fun with his role as Danson’s teenaged angsty-multi-media artist who wears his heart on his sleeve; he also looks cool in his vintage threads. (In pains me to add that he’s now in his 40s.)  Finally, let me just stop and praise Gina DeAngeles, a pip of an actress who once played a character listed as “Old Crone” in Moonstruck. This, um, rather old, eccentric actress first caught my attention in Woody Allen’s Broadway Danny Rose (1984), playing the domineering matriarch of a bunch of hoodlums. Then, in almost rapid succession, she popped up in Allen’s Radio Days (1987), the aforementioned Moonstruck, Cousins, and a few others. I know almost nothing about the woman, like how long she’d been acting when she started appearing in movies, but I’ve been obsessed with her for years. I even wrote a prominent film magazine one time and asked when the editors might decide to do a feature on her. The editors’ response was that I should watch as many of her movies as possible. Oh well. She looks like the Italian version of the Lillian Carter, and she can be almost frighteningly intense with her steely gaze, yet at the same time, her comic timing is razor-sharp. I bet in her whole lifetime, she never told a joke that fell-flat.  How she was ever overlooked for a guest spot on The Golden Girls is beyond me. At any rate, her role in Cousins is basically that of a one-woman Greek–make that Sicilian–chorus.  She seemingly knows all and tells all.

Cousins is directed by Joel Schumacher, and, yes, like Sean Young he has become an easy target.  Many film enthusiasts blame him for destroying the Batman franchise that Tim Burton had launched (or relaunched) so successfully in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Schumacher apparently went from bad (Batman Forever) to worse (Batman and Robin) and seemed to tarnish his reputation forever in some circles. True, this man has directed a lot of overblown junk in his day, but, don’t forget, before he “ruined” Batman, he directed Susan Sarandon to Oscar nominated glory in the 1994 adaptation of John Grisham’s The Client (a movie that seemed to work for both the public and the Academy–always a plus).  Plus, he created quite a stir–in a good way–when he cast Colin Farrell, then an unknown quantity to many US. moviegoers, as the lead in 2000’s Tigerland. Schumacher’s work with actors  in Cousins is yet more proof that he is not a hack by any means.

The original 1-sheet for Cousins. I don’t know that this poster does a great job of really selling the movie, or telling its story, but it sure is pretty. I had it on a wall in my place for a long while after the movie had come and gone. I had the perfect spot for it. Standing (l-r): Keith Coogan, William Petersen, Isabella Rossellini, and Ted Danson; sitting (l-r): Sean Young, Lloyd Bridges, Norma Aleandro, Katharine Isabelle, and the late, great Gina DeAngeles. I have no idea about the boys or the dog.

Furthermore, the movie is visually sublime, full of nifty touches, one of the most interesting being “Weddingland,” a matrimonial theme park which is the setting for one of the movie’s best sequences.  Cousins was filmed in and around Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, and in spite of years of trying, I’ve never been able to track down the actual location of the Weddingland sequence, but it’s a stunner.  (Weddingland looks a lot like the Danish community of Solvang in California, but there’s no indication that it is fact the shooting location, and it would be an odd choice, logistically, since the rest of the movie was filmed in Canada.) Of course, Schumacher’s background is in visual merchandising: he graduated from the Parsons School of Design and had worked as a department store window dresser before he broke into the movie biz–first as a costume designer [5]. At any rate, there’s something fascinating in the Weddingland sequence in which almost every shot seems to be perfectly coordinated with Rosselini’s creamy pastels and her beautiful sash (a gift from her husband in an act of contrition) [6], and/or her mother’s floral prints. Look closely: the mother’s cigarette is lavender and matches the colors in her dress.  Another scene in a chic restaurant seems entirely designed to bring out the blue in Lloyd Bridges’s eyes. Perhaps best of all is the sequence in which Larry and Maria enjoy a breezy motorcycle ride en route to a lake for an afternoon getaway. The gorgeous natural scenery and thrilling aerial shots, along with Rossellini’s uninhibited beauty and the giddily rhapsodic strings in Angelo Badalamenti’s luscious score, make the whole thing divinely over-the-top, like the world’s most fabulous perfume commercial or an attempt to out French-i-fy French cinema at its own game. Later, and this is important, there is a shot of Rossellini soaking in all the beauty of the lake from a cottage porch, a shot in which the audience clearly sees Maria through Larry’s eyes, that is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking images I have ever seen in a movie–the setting, the lighting, and composition instantly bring to mind Maxfield Parrish’s intensely saturated mythological vistas, and I would be willing to bet that this was exactly Schumacher’s intent–and, fortunately, he doesn’t overplay his hand: the shot builds and then is gone in an instant, with Schumacher wisely leaving the audience wanting more. (Unfortunately, unless you watch the movie on pretty large TV, the impact of its stunning visuals will be diluted–per that slim lavender cigarette of Aleandro’s; on the big screen, it is/was almost too sublime for words.)

Victor Lanoux (l) Marie-Christine Barrault in a scene from Cousin Cousine.

Because Cousins wasn’t a huge hit in its day, it is hardly surprising that it fell short with the Academy as well though the critics were generally kind to Rossellini. (I’m including a link to Roger Ebert’s review.) Of course, whether it was a hit at all is a matter of interpretation, I guess. Per the Internet Movie Database, the film cost an estimated $13 mil (these are 1988/89 dollars, mind you) and pulled in around 22 million in the U.S., a number corroborated by Box Office Mojo. Of course,  22 mil is obviously more than 13 mil, but once you factor in the costs of marketing and distribution, generally about half as much as the production costs, you’re left with a meager profit, if any. I don’t know that I trust the way the figures have been reported for this movie–mainly because I know too much about the business of reporting grosses works.  At any rate, I remember playing this movie back in the day, and I remember that it performed quite well for us, maybe playing for as many as 10 weeks. The theatre I worked in at the time definitely knew how to crank up the THX sound for summer and holiday blockbusters, such as Return of the Jedi (1983), Fright Night (1985), Top Gun (1986), Aliens (1986), Batman (1989), and Independence Day (1996),  but our bread and butter demographic during the rest of the year was the Far North Dallas Ladies-Who-Lunch-Bunch, and, believe me, when the women in this crowd liked a movie, such as this one, they would come in droves, week after week [7].  That’s the interesting thing about the biz: a movie can perform quite splendidly in some markets while only doing middling business in others. The old UA would always do well on this kind of movie even if other theatres did not. (On the other hand, kiddie movies were always hit and miss with us even when they were gangbusters everywhere else.)

Ted Danson (l) and Isabella Rossellini (r) featured on the Cousin’s DVD package.

As I have noted in previous articles, 1989 was a highly competitive year for actresses with the Oscar line-up including at least three candidates that were right on the money, and a pair of likeable lightweights [8].  There were several omissions from films with far higher profiles than Cousins,  so Rossellini’s exclusion not shocking, especially since someone had already been nominated for a movie using the same material. Oscar doesn’t generally “do” remakes, the recent revision of True Grit, starring Best Actor nominee Jeff Bridges, aside.  That noted, even given Rossellini’s predicament, and the omissions of Sean Young, William Petersen, and, okay, Lloyd Bridges,  I think Cousins should have been better promoted by Paramount: cinematography (Ralf Bode), music (Badalamenti [9]) , art direction (Mark S. Freeborn/Linda Vipond), and, heck, even screenwriter Stephen Metcalfe’s faithful adaptation.

I’m glad I own a DVD copy of Cousins. Similar to the Ladies who Lunch, I can watch it again and again, sometimes keeping it in the machine for repeat viewings. It’s something pretty that helps me unwind after a stressful day. Still, I do wish there were some extras: interviews with Schumacher, Rossellini, and the rest of the cast, or even an audio commentary. Something. It’s one thing for a movie to be overlooked by the Academy. It happens. It’s quite another for such a beautiful film to be so shabbily treated by the studio that made it. Doesn’t Isabella Rossellini deserve just a tad more respect regarding her only conventional romantic leading lady role in a mainstream Hollywood film? In a word: oui.

Thanks, Isabella, and happy birthday to you…

Roger Ebert’s review of Cousins:

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19890210/REVIEWS/902100302

[1] – I’ll leave it to the experts to debate the Oscar worthiness of the Yellow Submarine score and/or its individual songs–except that since the title tune was not unique to the movie, it was not eligible.

[2] – By the way: the Best Actress Oscar that year went to Faye Dunaway (Network); the competition also included Liv Ullman (Face to Face), Sissy Spacek (Carrie), and Talia Shire (Rocky).

[3] – The 80s was definitely the decade in which remakes of French films seemed like a good idea to American producers and/or studio heads. A few others include The Toy (1982, adapted from Le Jouet), The Woman in Red (1984 from Pardon mon affaire), and The Man with One Red Shoe (1985 – The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe).

[4] Technically, Aleandro tied with Cher  (in Mask) for the Cannes honor.

[5] An early Schumacher  job was as costumer on Woody Allen’s Interiors; he also wrote the screenplay for the original Car Wash; his other credits as a director include Lily Tomlin’s satirical The Incredible Shrinking Woman, along St. Elmo’s Fire, The Lost Boys, and Flatliners. Always a slick stylist, Cousins is softer than Schumacher’s usual bag of tricks, but by the time he got to the Batman movies, he was far too impressed with himself, throwing way too much at the screen.

[6] – Actually, Maria’s Weddlingland ensemble represents a bit of a compromise as the character sports gifts from both her husband (Tom) and her soulmate (Larry).

[7] – Add to Cousins the following films that were big favorites of the ladies who lunch at the old UA (i.e., multitudinous repeat viewings over several weeks, if not months): The Accidental Tourist (1988), The Big Chill (1983), The Bodyguard (1992), Children of a Lesser God (1986), 84 Charing Cross Road (1987), Moonstruck (1987), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Steel Magnolias (1989), The Woman in Red (1984), John Sayles’s Baby, It’s You (1983), and anything starring Bette Midler; of course, Titanic (1997) played to all demos–and even though it seems unlikely to think so, Driving Miss Daisy (1989) had great legs, as they say in the biz, and attracted scads of moviegoers young and old alike–not just little old ladies.

[8] The three heavyweights, in my opinion, were Jessica Tandy (the winner–for Driving Miss Daisy), Jessica Lange (Music Box), and Isabelle Adjani (Camille Claudel). The lightweights, to me, were Michelle Pfeiffer (The Fabulous Baker Boys) and Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine); neither were bad, but I don’t think they were exceptional.  Collins is an interesting case: her movie was released by Paramount, and, again, per Box Office Mojo, earned a scant 6 million in ticket sales, far less than even Cousins, but because Collins had won the Tony for the stage version of Shirley Valentine, I guess Paramount opted for the prestige factor and invested in a real campaign. (Skeptics will likely ask whether it isn’t possible that Academy voters simply preferred one actress to another and that all this other stuff is beside the point. Of course, there’s always that, but, there again, Oscar campaigning is very much a reality, and at the end-of-the-year, it’s hard for movies to get noticed without some kind of push by the studios, and not all films are promoted equally. Simple as that.) Collins was also Globe nominated, btw.  Certainly, onstage it was a powerful role as Collins more or less enacted all the characters in a one-woman show; however, with the movie considerably “opened” for the screen and cast with terrific supporting actors such as Tom Conti, Bernard Hill, Joanna Lumley, and Alison Steadman, Collins’s performance somehow seems less remarkable as does the material itself.  Among the high profile actresses overlooked that year: Andie MacDowell (sex, lies, and videotape), and Sally Field (Steel Magnolias), among others.

[9] – The lush romanticism of Badalamenti’s score for Cousins is atypical of his more well-known work for director David Lynch in such “eerie,” for lack of a better word, projects as Blue Velvet (1986) and TV’s Twin Peaks, which followed Cousins by a year.

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4 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Cousin…”

  1. jeff 18 June 2012 at 7:27 am #

    happy birthday Melanie
    have a great day
    my dear friend

    • listen2uraunt 18 June 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Thanks, Jeff! Enjoy your off-day–let me know if you go see a movie. Lol.

  2. Anita 18 June 2012 at 11:53 am #

    “Happy birthday to you!” (And Paul and all the rest.) I’m not sure I ever saw Cousin, Cousine (!), and it’s been ages since I saw Cousins. Time to head to Netflix. Hope you have a great day!

    • listen2uraunt 18 June 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Thanks, Anita! Of course, we saw Cousins together at the old UA. It was a Sunday, and we also took in Chances Are, with Cybill Shepherd and Robert Downey Jr. Do you remember that? I’m guess it was around your birthday–but that’s just a guess.

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